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Part 2: Being Authentic – What Does It Take?

In this video, I would like to focus on two specific characteristics that authentic people share.

These are commitment and courage.

I would like to explore these two specific ingredients a bit more deeply today.

1. Committment: There is no shortcut to authenticity. It is a choice we can make  – to be engaged in an ongoing learning and growing process throughout our lifetime. In this sense becoming and being authentic requires an ongoing commitment to learning from our mistakes through self-reflection and introspection.

It is a commitment to maturing and evolving our minds and opening our hearts. And this, in my view, is the path to authenticity and psychological growth. Through this is ongoing commitment, we will increasingly experience an acceptance of who we really are; including our gifts, our strengths, and most importantly, our vulnerabilities and many imperfections.

We will get to this place of self-acceptance through our steady commitment to finding what is right for us, holding to it, and learning to negotiate what is true and important to us within our relationships in life.

In this sense being authentic and becoming authentic is a daily practise.  It is a bit like developing and training a muscle, which I like to call our authenticity muscle. We are able to develop and strengthen this muscle by exercising it on a regular basis – by expressing our thoughts, feelings and concerns in a thoughtful way.

2. Courage: Now, let’s talk about courage and authenticity.

E.E. Cummings, the American poet, wrote:

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.’

What did E.E. Cummings meant by this?

I believe, authenticity and vulnerability go together. They are often companions. It takes courage to be vulnerable.

It takes courage to stand up for our own values, especially if they don’t fit with the view and opinions of others – maybe family, friends, or colleagues. It can be exposing. There is a risk when speaking openly and authentically. The risk is that we might be disapproved of , disliked, rejected, or judged, or excluded.

Therefore, it takes courage to say, for example: ‘It doesn’t feel comfortable when you speak to me like this.’ Or: ‘ I’m sorry,  I am unable to help on this occasion.’ Or: ‘ I am really sorry, but my perception of this matter is very different to yours. Let’s agree to disgree.’

We all know from our own experience that it can be very exposing to express an opinion that is not popular. It can be scary and deeply uncomfortable when we are called to stand up for our own values. It can feel a bit like being naked and everyone else is fully dressed.

Being true to our inner values requires us to withstand this deep discomfort of potential and sometimes real disapproval, conflict, and maybe rejection.

Being authentic demands accepting and loving ourselves, even if others don’t.

Overall,  I believe that being true to ourselves, our values, our boundaries – is the key to living a satisfying and meaningful life.

What is the alternative? The alternative is wearing a mask, hiding and concealing who we really are. And this, sadly, often goes hand in hand with emotional difficulties.

I hope this is helpful.

Kirsten Heynisch

I have trained and worked as a Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist for over 25 years, and specialise in Depression Therapy, PTSD counselling, Group Therapy, and BPD Therapy.

To get started on your path to recovery, healing and positive transformation, contact me today to arrange your FREE, 15-20 minute, telephone consultation, where together we can talk about your current situation and start establish the best possible way.

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